Isaac Bober’s 2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i Review with pricing, specs, performance, ride and handling, saftety, verdict and score.

In a nutshell: BMW takes its X1 and remoulds it, tweaks the suspension and steering and comes up with an appealing small hatchback.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive 20i

Price $55,900 +ORC Warranty 3 years/100,000km Engine 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol Power 141kW at 5000-6000rpm Torque 280Nm at 1350-4600rpm Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch auto Drive front-wheel drive Body 4360mm (l); 1824mm (w exc mirrors); 2098mm (w inc mirrors); 1526mm (h) Turning circle 11.3m Towing weight 1800kg (braked), 750kg (unbraked) Kerb weight 1460kg Seats Fuel tank 51 litres Spare No-runflats Thirst 5.9L/100km combined cycle Fuel 91RON

BMW IS GOOD at coming up with new niches. Think about the X6…sure, we guffawed when we all first saw it, but like Porsche’s Cayenne, it sold is crazy numbers and showed that car buyers were happy to try something different.

Granted, the BMW X2 is not quite in that same radical reimagining style and, looked at in isolation it’s little more than a hatchback, but in BMW land and from an engineering point of view, it’s actually so much more than that. But, let’s address the elephant in the room, this isn’t an SUV, nor is it a crossover… it’s a hatchback and let’s be okay with that.

What is the BMW X2?

If you were being unkind, you’d simply describe it as a reimagined X1 but there’s more than enough going on, not just with the bodywork, but with the suspension and steering, and even the body kits to suggest there’s more to the X2.

BMW is aiming to steal buyers from other premium brands and you could imagine the sales and marketing team was staring at a picture of the Audi A3 and perhaps even the Q2 and others when they came up with a competitor list. And it’s got big shoes to fill, the X1 is the best-selling BMW in this country but that will potentially give the X2 a leg up…BMW buyers clearly like the idea of a propeller badge on this size of vehicle.

At the local launch in Canberra this week, BMW’s presentation talked a lot about the SUV segment and that’s because the passenger car market seems to be a dirty word at the moment. And it’s no wonder, last year, sales of SUVs eclipsed that of passenger car sales and it’s the same in the premium segment, with sales of SUVs outstripping passenger cars. So, you can see why brands try so hard to associate a new vehicle with an upward trending segment. I’ll let this go.

The X2 arrives in Australia, as Paul Horrell, who drove the thing at its international launch said, with just one variant, this sDrive20i which is priced from $55,900+ORC. It’ll be joined by an sDrive18i and the xDrive20d both will be here in June (so, read Paul’s review for an early taste test of that vehicle), the latter the only variant to offer all-wheel drive; and only that vehicle might you call possibly call a crossover but even then, not really. Seriously, Isaac, drop the dead donkey. Moving on.

The X2, as mentioned is on the same platform as the X1 and, also the Mini Countryman (but that still doesn’t make it a crossover in my opinion). The X2 looks very different to the X1 with a more swooping and muscular stance; the roofline is lower to give it that hunkered down profile and the wheel arches are pulled backwards in their shape to give the thing a look of leaning forward and being ready to pounce; at least that’s how it looks to me.

The X2’s slabby C-pillar is perhaps its most akward angle, to my eyes anyway, although I do like the BMW badge inserted onto the pillar which harks back to the BMW CSL of the 1960s and latter M1.

The grille is a new shape, likely to appear on all new BMW’s from now on and so too will the creases down the side of the vehicle.

For the first time on a BMW, there’s now an M Sport X bodykit…the regular M Sport kit is intended to evoke images of motorsport, while the chunky-looking, contrasting Frozen Grey inserts on the car you see pictured here are meant to hint at rally or mountain biking armour. It does nothing to the ground clearance and is purely cosmetic…it’s a free option.

The BMW X2 sDrive20i’s standard equipment list includes:

  • 19-inch M light alloy wheels
  • M Sport X Exterior Package
  • M Sport suspension
  • M rear spoiler
  • LED headlights with cornering lights
  • LED Fog Lights
  • High-beam Assist
  • Automatic tailgate operation
  • Cloth Alcantara Anthracite with yellow contrast stitching
  • M Leather steering wheel
  • BMW Individual headliner in Anthracite
  • Sports seats for driver and front passenger
  • Interior Lights package
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • Rear-view mirror with anti-dazzle function
  • Park distance control, front and rear
  • Cruise control with braking function
  • Rear view camera
  • Parking Assistant
  • Driving Assistant, including speed limit info, lane departure warning, PedestrianWarning with City Brake Activation and forward collision warning
  • Real-time Traffic Information
  • Foldable second-row seats with 40:20:40 split
  • Instrument panel with 5.7-inch TFT display
  • Satellite navigation
  • 5-inch colour touchscreen infotainment

What’s the interior like?

Well, it’s like the X1 but a little more compact, and that’s because this thing is aimed at a broad range of largely urban dwellers who are shopping on style. That said, the nip and tuck here and there to make the X2 haven’t robbed too much space.

From the front, the X2 clearly feels like a conventional hatchback rather than a high-riding hatch, and that’s fine. Visibility is good all the way around the vehicle and even that slabby C-pillar isn’t has much of a problem as you might initially think. The wide mirrors are nice and big and virtually eliminate any blind spots.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i Review

The front seat is comfortable with plenty of adjustability and good grip both in the side of the seat and the seat base – although those with bigger stomach bones might find the seats a tad tight at the sides. The drive loop was only two hours long, so I can’t talk as to the long-distance comfort of the seats but I found them comfortable for the time I spent in them.

And, being a BMW, the driving position feels just about spot on and the steering wheel feels great in the hands; no-one does a chunky steering wheel quite like BMW.

The infotainment system is the latest generation and pretty darn clever. You’d need more time than we had to plumb its depths; lucky for us, our Paul Horrell has spent a lot of time fiddling with the system and he’s a fan. He especially likes the programmable shortcut buttons which keep you from having to go too deep into the menu structure to find things you need regularly, like navigating home, calling work or your partner, and so on.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i Review

BMW pays lip service to smartphone mirroring and has made Apple CarPlay available as an option on the X2, but there’s no Android Auto availability. The base infotainment screen is a 6.5-inch unit which seems a little stingy in this day and age, but you can cost option an 8.8-inch screen which looks more at home jutting up from the dash.

Into the back seat and there’s ‘enough’ room for two adults or three kids who’ve outgrown booster seats, or one in a booster seats, and…you know where I’m going – there are ISOFIX mounts for the two outboard seats and top tether anchors on the backs of the seats in the middle. There are pouches on the hard-backs of the front seats, rear air vents and a 12v outlet; no USB.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i Review

Given the X2’s roofline is a little lower than the X1 I thought head room would be tight but it’s not too bad. I sat in the back and was driven around a bit and I thought it was fine. There’s good vision out through the windows, although the rising beltline does pinch the window at the back.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i Review

The rear seats fold down 40:20:40 which is how all back seats should fold down, and the boot offers 470 litres which is pretty good, but the space is split between the main boot and a hidden compartment beneath the floor – there’s no spare, remember, because it rides on runflats. Fold down the rear seats, and they don’t go totally flat, and the storage space expands to 1355 litres. The tail-gate is motorised and I think that’s a bit of overkill on a small hatchback like the X2.

What’s it like on the road?

The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder makes 140kW between 5000-6000rpm and 280Nm of torque from 1350-4600rpm. This is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission and the claimed combined consumption is 6.0L/100km but the Euro 6 engine is happy to drink 91RON and it’ll get to 100km/h in 7.7 seconds. Power is sent to the front wheels only.

The launch loop covered just two hours of driving, an hour for each driver, and offered a mixture of urban, highway and rural roads. It was a good taste test but didn’t really stretch the X2 dynamically.

The engine itself is strong and willing to rev with a refinement that few other 2.0L turbo engines can match. The throttle response is excellent with a nice progressive action to the pedal, allowing you to easily modulate the X2 from a crawl to a run.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i Review

The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is perfectly matched to the engine and better than the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission used by Volkswagen. The transmission has been tuned for efficiency but not at the expense of ‘driving’ meaning a flex of the toe is enough to have it on-guard and dropping back seamlessly and quickly through the cogs if needed.

The steering is faster than that on the X1 not by much but by enough that the X2 feels keener to turn into corners and while there’s not a lot of feel through the wheel there’s enough, and there’s a consistency to the weight and action that, from a driver’s perspective, elevates the X2 beyond the X1. But then, that’s what BMW was going for with the X2; a more agile X1.

Like the steering, the suspension was tweaked too. With agility the aim, the dampers have been tuned to settle quickly and cleanly without losing ride comfort and body roll has been drastically reduced via clever pre-loaded stabiliser bushings and different roll bars. It all adds up to a vehicle that’s much keener to attack a corner than either the X1 or the majority of vehicles in this segment. We can’t wait for a longer drive of the X2 on our test roads.

2018 BMW X2 sDrive20i Review

While the roads we drove across were, on the whole pretty good, they certainly weren’t perfect. And they showed a couple of things, and these were, one, just how far runflat tyre technology has come…see, despite riding on 19-inch allows there was enough give in the tyre that it didn’t bump off holes in the road and, two, that despite a sporty suspension and steering tune, there’s more than enough give in the suspension to soften the impact from all but the worst road imperfections.

Insulation from the road noise is good even across course surfaces and there’s only a little bit of wind noise noticeable from around the side mirrors at highway speeds. We’ll have a more thorough assessment of the X2 once we’ve had it across our test roads.

What about safety features?

The BMW X2 has received a five-star ANCAP rating based on the 2015 rating for the closely-related X1. However, as the two vehicles aren’t identical, ANCAP said, “As the X2 has a slightly different side frame and new bumper front to the X1, additional side impact, pole and pedestrian impact tests have been performed on the X2. These tests and further data provided by BMW shows that the 2015 rating of the X1 can also be applied to the X2. This rating applies to all front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive X2 variants”.

Dual frontal, side chest-protecting and side head-protecting airbags (curtains) are standard. All three grades of autonomous emergency braking (City, Interurban & Vulnerable Road User) are standard, as well as a lane departure warning (LDW) system…you have to pay for the Innovations package to get the lane-keep assistance and active cruise control. There are, of course, the usual suspects, like traction and stability controls, LED headlights and DRLs, an excellent reversing camera with a high-definition image and wide view with dynamic guidelines.

So, what do we think?

The BMW is beautifully made and great to drive; a real dynamic improvement over the X1, but it isn’t quite as practical as the X1. That won’t stop the thing selling like hotcakes.


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1 comment

    Test drove the X2 during the week. The 2.0L turbo petrol matched to the 8spd brought out the best in the engine and it felt brisk and responsive taping into the 280nm of torque. A walk around shows great style and a breakaway look from the traditional X Model mould. It was a sporty, driver centred, classy interior. I liked the digital dash which still retained the clear BMW cues we are use to and the seats with the mix of fabric and textures. It handles with a familiar BMW solidity and engagement that hides its FWD origins. The lower stance and view from the cabin compared to traditional SUV’s makes it feel more car like to drive. Styling is personal but set next to its obvious competition, the Audi Q2 and Mercedes GLA, I think it stands apart and is ready to party for sales. When you’re trying catching up to the competition they say the best defence is good offence. I liked it and think it will attract a younger market than its base X1 origins.

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